As with any given Tuesday, I was driving my cab on Election Night. Four years ago, as I ferried folks around the city, many of them ranted about how they couldn’t believe things were turning out so poorly. I picked up a lesbian couple from Club 5 and took them to their house on the southwest side. They were both pretty drunk and downbeat, claiming that if Bush wound up winning again they were definitely leaving the country. Their conversation was spiked with heavy sarcasm, so I couldn’t tell if they were kidding or not.

This year I started at 8pm just as the polls closed and I decided to leave my radio silent for the evening. Politics and religion are subject areas best left out of the small talk in a cab. If someone wanted to chat with me about what was going on I was game, but I wanted to make everyone who got in feel like they were entering a neutral space. I also kept the radio off because this political campaign could not be over soon enough. The negative ads and the exaggeration and the dumbing down of everything made my stomach turn over and over. My parents were (and probably still are) involved in political campaigning and I admire that anyone could be older than me and still have faith in the system. We look to our leaders to guide us but I know the only way things will ever get better is if the people in the United States take a long look at themselves and the way they lead their lives. We need to discard the laziness and wastefulness and entitlement that colors most of our society and streamline things so that the next generation of Americans can enjoy what we all take for granted. But I doubt many people would be willing to make such sacrifices.

The other reason I did not turn on my radio was because I wanted to see if I could tell when Barack Obama was declared as POTUS. I was driving up First Street towards the Fiore Shopping Center around 10 pm when I saw fireworks go off somewhere east of me. I turned on the radio and indeed they were touting Obama as the winner. I went on break and headed up to a bar that my friend Bob’s band was playing at and watched Obama give a very nice acceptance speech. While I sipped my soda, many of my friends were celebrating like it was a holiday. I’m glad Obama won and I’m happy that the last 8 years will finally end but I’m also wary that things could get a lot worse before they get better, if they ever truly do get better.


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